How Obama Got His Groove Back

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/125253276/125253286" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript
Obama at the University of Iowa Field House in Iowa City, Iowa. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images i

Obama holds 4-year-old Barack Anthony Stroud at the University of Iowa Field House in Iowa City, Iowa, Thursday. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Obama at the University of Iowa Field House in Iowa City, Iowa. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Obama holds 4-year-old Barack Anthony Stroud at the University of Iowa Field House in Iowa City, Iowa, Thursday.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

It was a good week for President Obama, both at home and abroad. It was bookended by the landmark health care law and an important new arms control treaty with Russia. The White House routinely scoffs at this kind of week-by-week appraisal of the president's standing, but when Obama traveled to Iowa this week to celebrate the health care law, there was a new tone — and a not-so-new tune

So, how's that "hopey changey" thing working out now?

Just weeks after being publicly mocked by Sarah Palin and a seemingly ascendant Republican Party, Obama is sounding like his old, audacious self again. With the improbable success of the health care bill, he can once again talk about Americans' ability to do big things — and not sound silly.

On Thursday, Obama took that message back to Iowa, the state that launched his presidential bid and the place, he says, where change began.

"What this struggle has taught us — about ourselves and about this country — is so much bigger than any one issue. Because it's reminded us of what we learned all those months ago on a cold January night here in Iowa — and that's that change is never easy. But it's always possible."

To be sure, the health care battle featured little of the bipartisan cooperation that Obama campaigned on. Partisan divisions are as deep as ever. But the president does now have some major accomplishments to his credit. And, having delivered change, he's again free to talk about hope.

"Today, because of what you did, that future looks stronger and more hopeful and brighter than it has in some time," the president said to the cheering crowd.

On a personal level, Obama is famous for his even keel, whether the political winds are at his back or in his face.

But a telling signal of the president's mood came at the end of Thursday's speech, when they cranked up the music in the University of Iowa Field House.

Instead of the old-fashioned John Philip Sousa marches that have accompanied the president since he took office, fans heard Brooks and Dunn, U2 and Bruce Springsteen — a reprise of the soundtrack from Obama's unlikely campaign.

Running the country is harder than running for office. And, Obama warned repeatedly this week, there are more tough times ahead. But Americans will face those challenges with new confidence, he said. This is the week the president rediscovered his music.

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.